Getting the balance right

At the beginning of the year I found myself in a very kerfuddled, non functioning kind of a world due to health issues…..this led to having a couple of months off work.  I worked part time as a cleaner and gardener in a huge old rambling country retreat….in many ways it was a spot on super, perfect, lovely job.  Ok…I’m not a natural ‘cleaner’, as the millimeters of dust on my shelves, oh so impressive cobweb collection and windows that haven’t given a clear view to the outside world for years would tell you….but I loved the gardening job.  Back issues from a few years back meant my tasks became more limited, no more lugging around big branches to add to the bonfire, no more carting big barrows of soil around, and I rather struggled with anything that required lots of bending (picking soft fruits, vegetables and weeding).  My most favourite, special time was spent in the greenhouse, Radio 4 on in the background whilst making up seed trays, followed by pricking out, followed by potting on…..oooh, and eating fresh peas and fingernail sized broad beans, as well as oodles of strawberries and raspberries, let alone blackcurrants…oh how I miss those blackcurrants!!!!.  I used to bring home oodles of fruit and veg, often enough to make jams and chutneys….and there was always a free supply of firewood to be had….what wasn’t to love???

I worked there for 10 years, but as time went on I used to get that sinking feeling in my stomach the night before work days…I started to dread going in….I just longed to stay at home and make all day long…I’m sure this will strike a chord with many of you.  I found it hard to juggle my time between work, running a home, looking after my family and my grandchild care commitments, and finding time to create.  Add to the mix a non functioning brain and absolutely no energy levels, and a body that hurt and ached all the time (bless you Thyroid)…and well, it kind of all was a bit daunting.

So…after my months off work, me, my husbeth and I kind of came to the descision that work just had to go.  So I handed in my notice….oh the relief, oh the potential of all that extra time…heck, I only worked 10 hours a week (I had cut my hours back last summer)….and oh the scariness of it all.  With my husbeth being self employed, and now myself I at times wonder how on earth we manage to pay the bills…but I have told myself that if this doesn’t work…well, I will just have to go and find myself another job.  So this is me…self employed…ok, I have my government gateway number, and I still need to get around to officially declaring…but I have taken the first step.


So back to getting the balance right.  I still find myself with nowhere near enough hours in the day…I still find myself batteling with trying to keep on top of the cooking, washing, general household chores.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds this when working from home.  I make plans for my day, and something always crops up….I find it hard to stay focused when I see things around me that need sorting or doing……

….which is where my little retreats come into there own….

….my main retreat during the summer is our beach hut.  If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram it may seem that I seem to spend my summer idling away the days there.  I figure it takes one hour out of my day to bike there, have a swim and bike home again….but oh the lack of distractions!!!  I always make sure I have a portable crochet project on the go, sometimes this will be an item for my shop, sometimes an order…..but I can work uninterrupted by people and chores…..and the biking there does me good both mentally and physically….

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…this is my dear old Lolita…I call her Lo.  She is my trusty Pashley which I have had for many years.  I chose a Pashley as being a non driver my bike is my form of transport and independence….so I wanted a bike that was solid and reliable.  She went into retirement for a few years as she had an unfortunate accident….one night after an evening in the pub she had got a little bit pickled bless her, and whilst I was wheeling her along she kind of fell down and made me stand on her back wheel…which kind of resulted in her back wheel no longer being able to turn…which resulted in my poor husbeth having to carry her home whilst I pushed his bike for him….poor man, she weighs an absolute tonne!!!!.  So she sat in the shed for a year, finally had her spokes fixed…then sat in the shed for another year or two.  But this year I decided to get her back on the road again…so I gave her a bloody good clean and a revamp….which meant removing all of the old plastic flowers which I’d woven into her basket, and replacing them with some hooky bunting and roses. I also replaced her panniers which were ancient for some lovely new patchwork ones…made her a bell cover, replaced the knackered old shower cap which I used as a seat cover on rainy days, and added quite a few flower decals and Russian Doll stickers to her frame.  She is an absolute joy to ride…and I’m thoroughly enjoying my rekindled love affair with her……





….so I hop on my Lo….panniers laden with lunch, milk for cups of tea and my crochet projects…..

….and I head off to here…it’s only a couple of miles away, but it is at least a little bit of exercise for me




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….so that’s one of my places where I find a bit of balance…where I can work uninterrupted….where my thoughts can wander…..I love this beach hut of ours

…thank you for stopping by…..I shall be back soon to tell you about my other special places ….but for now I’m heading off to the beach on my Lo

Alfie xx